Legal Research Essentials

NEW! This course is now also available to practising lawyers in British Columbia through the Law Society’s Brightspace. Until December 31, 2022, practising lawyers can choose whether to take the course on this site or through Brightspace. After that date, the courses will no longer be available on this site.


Practising lawyers can access the Law Society’s Brightspace using the log in credentials they were provided by email (as part of the roll-out of the Indigenous intercultural course) here: Law Society Brightspace Log On. Forgot your password or cannot find the email? No problem - there is also a one-touch log in accessible through the Member Portal. Follow the link entitled “Law Society’s Brightspace” under the Education heading on the Member Portal landing page.



A one-hour-long video-based course on developing a strategy for legal research in the context of a specific fact pattern.


Welcome to the Online Legal Research Course. This course has been developed by Courthouse Libraries BC to provide practicing lawyers with an introductory strategy to performing legal research. By the end of the course you should be able to plan a research strategy and employ specific research skills to tackle a legal question using popular research tools.  The research tools highlighted in this course are tools relevant to the legal topic.  If you are conducting research on a different legal topic, you may want to refer to other research tools while employing a similar strategy and skills as covered in this course. The course is available to all BC lawyers on a voluntary basis to help meet the need for free, self-paced, practice-oriented, current legal research skills training.

About the Course

This course uses video modules to demonstrate how to develop a strategy for legal research, and to demonstrate specific skills for using secondary, primary and other sources. The course starts by defining the question and considering what resources are available and suitable. Then the course demonstrates how to use popular legal research tools and the rationale behind when to use specific resources. Short quizzes follow most of the section modules. The quizzes are for the purpose of self-assessment and getting a specific score is not required to earn the full 1 hour of CPD credit.

The course takes approximately 1 hour to complete. Although the course is modular and can be viewed on a module by module basis, the course is best viewed from beginning to end as it discusses the research process or strategy and considers issues that might arise when gaps in the fact pattern or research approach emerge. However, the video modules can be viewed on an “as needed” basis and it is not required to complete the course in one sitting.

Is This Course a Good Fit for Me?

This course is aimed at practicing lawyers, not research specialists. The course is intended to help lawyers improve their skills in conducting general legal research tasks and to adapt their research approach to the unique circumstances of each research question.

The course is not a substitute for exercising professional judgment on how much and what type of research is required for specific situations although the course prompts participants to evaluate these questions throughout the research task. It does not constitute legal advice. For product-specific training, contact the product's vendors or the Vancouver Courthouse Library - specialized training can help you maximize the benefits of a specific legal research tool.

Continuing Professional Development ("CPD") Credit

The course is approved for 1 hour of CPD credit. You must watch all the videos and complete all the quiz questions to claim this CPD credit.


Course facilitator: Megan Vis-Dunbar
Course value: Up to a maximum of 1 CPD Credits. Learn more ›

  1. Related Resources and Handouts

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    Legal Research Essentials - Course

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    Clicking the button above will take you to the course content (which is interspersed with quiz questions). Lawyers completing the course for CPD credit are not required to obtain any particular grade.

  2. LRE Course Completion Survey

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    Congratulations on completing the Legal Research Course. This course was developed to help lawyers improve their legal research skills.

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